USMNT: European stars return for June qualifiers

U.S. national team head coach Bruce Arena called in 27 players to training camp ahead of Saturday's friendly against Venezuela in Sandy, Utah, and World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico the following week.

Six European-based players who didn't travel for the March qualifiers have been recalled: Brad Guzan, Ethan Horvath, Timmy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood and DeAndre Yedlin. Chandler, who was suspended for the Honduras game in San Jose, edged out Eric Lichaj, who had missed out on the March qualifying squad because he was injured.

Johnson and Yedlin are both expected to start. Wood could challenge Clint Dempsey for a starting spot. Their return leaves the USA at close to full strength as camp opens.

"The issue with the players from Europe is they’re completing a long season that started last July or August depending on their club team," Arena said in an interview with U.S Soccer. "They’re at the end and they’re probably a little bit beat up, but I know they have another two weeks left in them. It’s no secret that we won’t be using many of them during the Gold Cup because they need to have some rest before they start for the new season. The MLS players are at a point where they’re getting pretty fit and sharp, so I think it’s a good time. We have a roster that has good balance all over, we have good young players and hopefully it’s a team we can put together to get us points in both games.”

Seven players who were called in for the March qualifiers aren't with the team. Michael Orozco, Sebastian Lletget and Jermaine Jones are injured, while Walker Zimmerman was edged out by FC Dallas teammate Matt Hedges as an extra defender. David Bingham and Chris Wondolowski, both San Jose players, and Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan had been called in after other players were injured.

Hedges, Horvath, Nick Rimando and Dax McCarty are the only players who have never represented the USA in qualifying.

"I think we have a good group," Arena said. "I'm still in the early goings with this team and I haven't seen all of our players, so this camp gives me the opportunity to see six new faces we haven't had in with the team yet, which is valuable. It's also great that we're able to bring back 21 players that have been in with our program already in 2017. We have a roster that has good balance all over, we have good young players and hopefully it's a team we can put together to get us points in both games."

The selection of 27 players allows Arena extra cover for three games in nine days and backup. Five players will enter the Trinidad & Tobago game on June 8 with yellow cards: Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, John Brooks and Geoff Cameron. After the T&T game in Colorado, the USA will face Mexico three days later at Mexico City's Azteca Stadium. The quick turnaround is necessitated by Mexico's participation in the Confederations Cup later in June.

"As part of the agreement to switch the day, we have the opportunity to play at night as opposed to the afternoon so I think that’s a plus for us," Arena said, "but it will require that we have a number of players ready to play. I can guarantee we will not be playing the same team from game one to game two. There will be a number of changes for the game in Mexico, so we’ve built a strong roster to allow us to do that.”

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
DEFENDERS (11): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting KC), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna/MEX), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas),Paul Arriola (Tijuana/MEX), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach/GER), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER).
FORWARDS (4):Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER).

10 comments about "USMNT: European stars return for June qualifiers".
  1. Miguel Dedo, May 29, 2017 at 9 a.m.

    Bill Hamid is having a superior season for DC United. Gold Cup may be the time to move toward a younger generation of goalkeepers.

  2. Albert Harris, May 29, 2017 at 9:36 a.m.

    I have a feeling that the goalkeeper for the Gold Cup will be Hamid or Horvath. Time to blood a younger player there even if one of the old guard ends up playing in the WC qualifiers later on.

  3. beautiful game, May 29, 2017 at 12:57 p.m.

    Woods had pain problems recently using pain killers; what gives?

  4. Wooden Ships replied, May 29, 2017 at 3:43 p.m.

    He's had some lingering knee pain and in the battle to stay up, wasn't given time to heal. Don't know the physio detail. According to Coach Arena recently, our forwards are our real strength, heading into the 2nd half of qualifying. Personally, I think that's absurd and if Wood isn't nearly 100% we are at risk.

  5. E Velazquez, May 30, 2017 at 8:23 a.m.

    Incredible , calling Rimando and Zusi. Mr B. Arena should have called Hamid for a change at the goal. This questions his ability to select players. Why not younger players instead old with finished prime times?
    If we fail in the next 2 games it should be time to bring a NEW coach with more skill to manage our team. don't you think so?

  6. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 30, 2017 at 5:03 p.m.

    So you want to fire the coach after a few months based on his choice of No. 4 GK? Rimando won't be on the field for either of the WCQs. If that's the biggest complaint you can come with, Bruce must be doing ok.

  7. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 30, 2017 at 5:04 p.m.

    I think Luis Robles is better than both Rimando and Hamid but since he wouldn't play if selected I'm happy, as a RBNY fan, that he wasn't chosen.

  8. E Velazquez, May 31, 2017 at 8:24 a.m.

    Senior Paul Gardner: just a reminder B.Arena was already fired one time , correct?. He is not at the same hight of the great European or southamerican coaches, is he?. Can USA afford to hire a coach that is one of the premier teams ?

  9. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 31, 2017 at 10:40 a.m.

    Well the last European coach they hired (and fired) didn't do that well. JK was fired at least a year too late. Bruce also led the US to its best ever world cup result. Bruce may get fired again but it won't be because of his choice for No. 4 GK. He was the right hire for the situation the US was facing last fall - needing to stop the decline under Klinsmann to ensure world cup qualification. I would be surprised if Bruce stayed past the world cup.

  10. Craig Cummings, June 1, 2017 at 11:59 p.m.

    Coach Arena will bring in Christian Ramirez and Sacha Kljestan into the team. Go Orange County Ca.

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